Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan


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Basque government group tours Winona State engineering program

Basque government group tours Winona State engineering program

Sara Tiradossi/Winonan

Winona State University hosted a group of officials from the Basque region of Spain on Tuesday, Oct. 20 to establish an educational partnership with the science and engineering department.

Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs Edward Reilly said it is the second year the Basque group has visited Central and Southeastern Minnesota.

“The Basque officials came to Minnesota because their economy is blooming right now, while the rest of Europe is suffering,” Reilly said. “But they need trained workers for all the industries and factories, as well as designers and engineers, so a lot of educated people.”

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Reilly said this year the officials are visiting Winona State because the university offers a composite materials engineering program, where students study plastics, fibers and the ways to imply composite materials.

“When the Basque officials came to Minnesota last year, they visited Minnesota State University, Mankato and established some partnerships there,” Reilly said. “So they are already doing faculty exchanges at universities in the Basque region with the Mankato area.”

Reilly said the president of the college at Mankato was involved with an Obama task force that dealt with technology, industry and the European economy.

“When the President of Mankato was in the Basque, she built relationships with these politicians and invited them to come to Minnesota,” Reilly said. “A group from China came to Winona State in July from 20 different schools and visited many colleges in the states. However, this time the officials came here for us, and they know exactly what they want to look at.”

On Tuesday, the Basque group had the opportunity to tour the Winona State campus and the composite materials engineering department. Their visit included a meeting on Winona State’s Cal Fremling boat on the Mississippi River with Winona State faculty and administrators, a tour of Wenonah Canoe and a tour of Minnesota State College-Southeast Technical’s campus in Winona.

“The tour went very well. The group met with Winona State’s president and spent a couple hours in our engineering department,” Reilly said. “There were also local companies setting their own booths and displays, so the Basque officials were able to talk to local manufacturers.”

Reilly said after the tour of the Cal Fremling they went to Southeast Technical in Winona and found out they already have someone from the Basque working at the college. He said the official is visiting the college for a couple of weeks, so the technical college is little bit ahead of Winona State in establishing the relationship.

Reilly said a possible educational partnership with the Basque would be beneficial for Winona State in a number of ways.

These opportunities, Reilly said, help students who wish to study or work abroad.

“It can also increase our international students population if students in Europe were to have some spokespeople from our program out there right now,” Reilly said. The Basque officials can send students here and we can send workers there. That is a really great opportunity for the university.”

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